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Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘first world war

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • Beyond the Beyond notes an image of a wooden model of Babbage’s difference engine.
  • James Bow talks about the soundtrack he has made for his new book.
  • Centauri Dreams considers ways astronomers can detect photosynthesis on exoplanets and shares images of Fomalhaut’s debris disk.
  • Crooked Timber looks at fidget spinners in the context of discrimination against people with disabilities.
  • D-Brief notes that Boyajian’s Star began dimming over the weekend.
  • Far Outliers reports on a 1917 trip by zeppelin to German East Africa.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money argues that there is good reason to be concerned about health issues for older presidential candidates.
  • The NYRB Daily reports on Hungary’s official war against Central European University.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes the origins of modern immigration to Russia in internal Soviet migration.
  • Savage Minds shares an ethnographer’s account of what it is like to look to see her people (the Sherpas of Nepal) described.
  • Strange Maps shares a map speculating as to what the world will look like when it is 4 degrees warmer.
  • The Volokh Conspiracy argues that the US Congress does not have authority over immigration.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests Russia’s population will be concentrated around Moscow, compares Chechnya’s position vis-à-vis Russia to Puerto Rico’s versus the United States, and looks at new Ukrainian legislation against Russian churches and Russian social networks.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes how Evelyn Waugh’s writings on the Horn of Africa anticipate the “Friedman unit”, the “a measurement of time defined as how long it will take until things are OK in Iraq”.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

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  • blogTO looks at eleven recent Toronto-themed books, from fiction to children’s literature.
  • Centauri Dreams considers the idea of using waste heat to detect extraterrestrial civilizations.
  • Far Outliers reports on how German East Africa substituted for foreign imports during the blockade of the First World War.
  • Marginal Revolution suggests that the fall of Rome may have been due to the failure to reconquer North Africa.
  • The NYRB Daily looks at the exuberant art of Jazz Age Florence Stettheimer.
  • The Planetary Society Blog shares a stunning portrait of Jupiter from the New Horizons probe.
  • Window on Eurasia considers the idea of containment in the post-Cold War world.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell looks at the British election.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Centauri Dreams looks at evidence that Ceres’ Occator Crater, an apparent cryovolcano, may have been recently active.
  • Crooked Timber’s John Quiggin wonders what would have happened had Kerensky accepted the German Reichstag’s proposal in 1917.
  • Dangerous Minds looks at some fun that employees at a bookstore in France got up to with book covers.
  • Cody Delistraty describes F. Scott Fitzgerald’s utter failure to fit into Hollywood.
  • A Fistful of Euros hosts Alex Harrowell’s blog post taking a look at recent history from a perspective of rising populism.
  • io9 reports on a proposal from the Chinese city of Lanzhou to set up a water pipeline connecting it to Siberia’s Lake Baikal.
  • Imageo notes a recent expedition by Norwegian scientists aiming at examining the winter ice.
  • Strange Maps links to an amazing graphic mapping the lexical distances between Europe’s languages.
  • Window on Eurasia argues that Russia is on the verge of a new era of population decline, and shares a perhaps alarming perspective on the growth of Muslim populations in Russia.

[URBAN NOTE] “The girl who lived: Remembering the Halifax explosion through a child’s eyes, 99 years later

The Globe and Mail features Stephen MacGillavray’s interview with Kaye Chapman, a centenarian who at the age of 5 witnessed the Halifax Explosion 99 years ago today.

Nearly a century ago, five-year-old Kaye Chapman said goodbye to her four brothers and sisters as they rushed out the door of their north-end Halifax home. She collected her Bible and hymnbook and was about to play Sunday school, when a deafening boom swept her off her feet.

It was Dec. 6, 1917, toward the end of the First World War, when Halifax was the epicentre of the Canadian war effort.

Just before 9 a.m., the French munitions ship Mont-Blanc was arriving in Halifax to join a convoy across the Atlantic. The Norwegian vessel Imo was leaving, en route to New York to pick up relief supplies for battle-weary troops in Belgium. Both vessels were in the tightest section of the harbour when they collided, igniting a blaze that set off the biggest human-caused explosion prior to the atomic bomb.

The Halifax Explosion devastated the north end of the city, killing nearly 2,000 and injuring 9,000. The blast released an explosive force equal to about 2.9 kilotonnes of TNT. Shock waves were felt as far away as Cape Breton and Prince Edward Island. The Mont-Blanc was blown to pieces, its half-tonne anchor shaft landing more than three kilometres away.

Today, few survivors are left, likely none with the vivid firsthand recall of 104-year-old Mrs. Chapman, who lived on Clifton Street, about two kilometres from ground zero.

“As young as I was, I can see everything and I can even tell what we were dressed in,” she said at her assisted-living apartment in Saint John. “I had a little white outfit on – a tiny white dress and white stockings.”

Written by Randy McDonald

December 6, 2016 at 3:00 pm

[URBAN NOTE] “The heroes of Howland Avenue”

The Toronto Star‘s Paul Hunter describes how one street in the Annex was devastated by the loss of its young men in the First World War.

They grew up on the same West Annex street, a few doors from each other; boyhood pals, then teenaged running mates. Four of them attended Harbord Collegiate together.

They had names like Billy, Kenny and Cecil, a champion runner who may have been the best athlete of the gang. Though young Eustace, part of a provincial rugby championship, would have argued that.

Life was good on Howland Ave.

There were about 35 red-brick houses, many with impressive gables, on each side of the first block north from Bloor St. to Barton Ave. It was a place where neighbours looked out for neighbours. And a time when the future seemed boundless.

Soon, as what happens with childhood friends, the boys became young men and left their tree-lined street to find their own way.

Soon, most would be dead.

Swept up in patriotic fervour, they signed on to serve King and country in the First World War.

There is much more at the Star.

Written by Randy McDonald

November 11, 2016 at 11:12 am

[BLOG] Some Sunday links

  • The Boston Globe‘s The Big Picture shares photos of Spain’s Pueblos Blancos of Andalusia.
  • blogTO reports on Toronto’s biggest pumpkin parade.
  • The Broadside Blog’s Caitlin Kelly talks about the immigrant’s dilemma on election date.
  • Dangerous Minds notes the importance of Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s concert for Hillary.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a report on hot Jupiter Kelt-17b.
  • The Dragon’s Tales suggests Sputnik Planitia may dominate Pluto.
  • Far Outliers talks about Cherokee language revitalization movements.
  • Language Log looks at a Korean tradition of satirical poetry in Korea and classical Chinese.
  • Marginal Revolution links to a fascinating book about manuscripts.
  • The NYRB Daily talks about Trump as a consequence of the Iraq War.
  • Personal Reflections’ Jim Belshaw notes the recent discovery of evidence for ancient habitation in Australia.
  • The Planetary Society Blog notes the advance of plans for a lunar-orbit space station.
  • Peter Rukavina shares headlines in the Guardian of a century ago on Romania’s entry into the First World War.
  • Torontoist annotates the SmartTrack report.
  • Towleroad shares Robyn’s new track, “Trust Me.”
  • Understanding Society celebrates its 9th anniversary.
  • Window on Eurasia reports on Russia’s escalating HIV/AIDS epidemic.

[BLOG] Some Tuesday links

  • blogTO shares some photos of Toronto in the gritty 1980s.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper examining the habitable zones of post-main sequence stars.
  • Far Outliers notes the ethnic rivalries among First World War prisoners in the Russian interior, and examines how Czechoslovakia got its independence.
  • The Map Room Blog looks at the mapping technology behind Pokémon Go.
  • pollotenchegg looks at how the populations of Ukrainian cities have evolved.
  • Savage Minds considers anthropology students of colour.
  • Transit Toronto notes</a the end of tunnelling for the Eglinton LRT.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the post-Soviet states built Soviet-style parodies of capitalism for themselves.